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Last Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007, 10:26 GMT
Zimbabwe in storm flood warning
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The authorities in Zimbabwe have issued a flood warning after a tropical cyclone caused widespread damage in central Mozambique.

Weather experts say heavy rains and strong winds are expected in low lying areas in eastern Zimbabwe.

Cyclone Favio reached land on Thursday in the central province of Inhambane, and then headed north-west.

Strong winds destroyed homes, causing blackouts and injuring at least 17 people in a coastal town.

Winds reportedly hit 170mph (270km/h). It has now been downgraded to a tropical storm with winds dropping to 60 mph (100km/h) but heavy rains are continuing.

A farmer and refugee from the Zambezi River floods carries reeds as he wades through water in Caia, northern Mozambique (file picture)
There are fears Favio's heavy rainfall may add to severe floods

Mozambique is still struggling after floods left an estimated 120,000 people homeless earlier this month.

The category-four storm tore through the tourist town of Vilanculos, damaging homes, the town court and prison and uprooting trees.

The prisoners escaped during the cyclone. Roads were also blocked by heavy rainfall.

"I can't do anything because all the roads have been blocked by falling trees and it's even impossible to try and rescue the people whose homes have been hit because there is no access," Sulemane Amugy, the town's mayor, told Reuters news agency.

Travel warning

"It is travelling north-west to Zimbabwe," said Helder Sueia from the meteorological office.

The Mozambican authorities went on high alert, and thousands of people were moved into tented camps.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Of course people should live by rivers. It's where the fertile soil is
Mark, New York

The UK's Foreign Office advised against all travel to the tourist islands around Bazaruto, as well as low-lying coastal areas.

The government in Mozambique has been praised for its response to the recent crisis, says the BBC's southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles.

It has been far better prepared than it was seven years ago when hundreds of people lost their lives during the worst floods in the country's history.

Experts tracking the expected path of Cyclone Favio over the past week think it is unlikely to badly affect the flooded areas around the Zambezi river, but they emphasise that cyclones are highly unpredictable.


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SEE ALSO
Should people live by rivers?
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In pictures: Mozambique floods
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28 Apr 05 |  Country profiles

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